Where are you based?
I would like to say I am based in Africa because I am mobile across the continent and at the time I connected with Byta for this interview, I was in Ghana which is where I am from. I am now in Lagos, Nigeria as of the publishing date of this interview. Between then and now I have visited Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania and in a few weeks I will be in Johannesburg which is where I am actually based.
Where do you work? What do you do?
I am the founder & Chief Creative Director of HIPHOP Africa the premier voice in African rap music and also promotes African Hip-hop Culture and entertainment.I also work for Zoningo LLC, an American-based independent music distribution company where I handle artist acquisition and Business Development for, Zoningo is a merger between my previous company Distroplug and Lester Ventures.
What are you listening to?
My music listening is broad and diverse. But being from Africa obviously, I listen to lots of Afrobeats and African music like Bongo Flava, Amapiano, Hiphop music is also a major part of my listening, Highlife, EDM, House, alternative music and all types of good music.
How do you discover new music?
Handling artist acquisition for Zoningo I get to discover new music every day and I enjoy listening to new unreleased music. It is a good feeling to see music grow from nothing to something. I am also active in the African music industry and I have lots of artists and industry peers around so I get exclusive listening to music before they drop or as they drop, private studio sessions and more, so I am able to discover a lot of new songs across the African continent. I also get to discover a great deal of music through several editorial and user-curated playlists on Spotify. Spotify has helped me discover lots of great music, especially Alternative, Pop, Chilled and other genres not as popular here in Africa but also some great African artists like BLK JKS and more.
What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?
I mostly use digital streaming services. I’m a modern-day Tech savvy creative director and music executive, always on the go, so I am mostly on my phone and tab so streaming music is easy. I stream songs on several music platforms though Spotify is my go-to app for music listening, I also stream music and have subscriptions on multiple platforms including Apple Music, Soundcloud, Tidal, Boomplay and Audiomack. I don’t have CDs anymore but I hope to get myself a vinyl player soon.
“I discover a great deal of music through listening to music a lot on Spotify through several editorial and user created playlists and Spotify artist radio. Spotify has helped me discover lots of music, especially Alternative, Pop, Chilled and other genres not as popular here in Africa.”
Where do you do most of your music listening?
Because I am always on the move and I work almost everyday so I basically listen to music every day and everywhere. At work, at home, when driving or commuting. Music is life. I have a playlist for everything I’m up to. Music keeps me going.
How do you find and listen to pre-release music?
I listen to pre-release music every other day as I work in artist acquisition. I also pitch editorial support for artists (PR), so I do get a lot of unreleased music sent to me through partners and artists or record labels.
What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
I don’t really have any frustrations as I pay for my subscriptions and I don’t get Ads. I barely use SoundCloud lately, only when I get private links to new releases. I don’t use SoundCloud because it doesn’t appeal to me personally though it’s a tool to discover artists. It doesn’t favour the African music industry as you can barely find a SoundCloud rapper from Africa, you can definitely mention a few from the states and Europe. One more thing, SoundCloud is only monetized in 19 countries and not monetized in my region so I don’t see the need to use it.
How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I listen to music on every platform on the premium tier so I can download and play offline so I can save music I love and I curate my own playlists. So I can find them easily.
Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Definitely, I tip my colleagues, friends and even the artists who are around with some great new music, and playlists every day. I share playlists with people i care about and people i work with, when i find any good music that music or artist would get new fans alongside myself because i would definitely share good music out to the next person close to me.
Anything you want to “promote”?
Absolutely, I want to promote my brand Hiphop Africa which is the hub for African music culture and we just launched our Hiphop Africa radio. So visit hiphopafrica.net for the latest in African rap music, hip hop news update and entertainment culture.